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posted: 9/17/2012 8:30 PM

Lake Zurich board backs ban on gambling

Lake Zurich board says it's not right for the town

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Lake Zurich's ban on video gambling will continue, the village board decided Monday night.

Following impassioned remarks from some area gambling opponents, trustees voted 4-0 to keep video poker and slot machines out of town.

Some trustees said they have nothing personally against gambling, but didn't feel it was right for Lake Zurich.

Video gambling is allowed in licensed bars, restaurants, fraternal organizations and truck stops under a 2009 state law that was designed to help fund statewide public works improvements. A fraction of proceeds will go to local communities.

Village and county boards don't have to vote to legalize such gambling, but they do have to vote to ban it. Many suburban governments have taken that step, including those in Hawthorn Woods, Libertyville and Kildeer.

The Lake County Board has banned video gambling in unincorporated areas, too.

This summer, Round Lake Beach, Aurora, Pingree Grove and Carol Stream were among the towns that opted to allow video gambling.

Last week, the Mundelein village board ordered the town's staff to prepare an ordinance that would legalized video gambling in town. A vote could come later this month.

At the start of Monday's meeting, a few audience members stood up to talk about what they saw as the dangers of gambling.

Elise Bouc called the activity "a losing proposition for Lake Zurich." She talked about a female friend who's husband was a gambler and lost everything.

For Bouc, the potential revenue for the town isn't worth the human cost.

"Are we a community of vultures that would feed off the misfortune of others?" Bouc asked.

Another foe Monday night was the Rev. Ward Cushman of Harvest Bible Chapel. He, too, told an anecdote about someone affected by gambling, this time a woman living in her sister's basement because of her gambling losses.

"There is a dark, ugly side to this potential new member of our community," Cushman said.

The only audience member who spoke in favor of video gambling was John Barrington of the local American Legion, one of the groups that would be allowed to have gambling machines.

"(It) could be a really big thing for us," he said.

Before voting Monday, Trustee Rich Sustich said he'd rather see how the towns that have approved gambling deal with the activity before allowing it in Lake Zurich. Others on the panel felt similarly.

Trustees Dana Rzeznick and Jeff Halen were absent.

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